There are Many Fishbowls in the Sea

Senior Officers Plan Out New Student Space


Naomi Linde

The atrium offers a potential new space for seniors to congregate.

At the end of the 2021-22 school year, the Fishbowl was transformed into a private space for students who receive special education services, which worried many students anticipating that senior privilege. Luckily, the tradition is not entirely lost, as senior officers currently work to recreate the Fishbowl in the school’s atrium. 

The small room in front of the cafeteria, dubbed the Fishbowl, is a tradition dating back to Bromfield’s expansion in 1990. According to retired Bromfield teacher, Dennis Decora, it was originally intended as a staff meeting room, but the transparency posed a problem. Around five years later, the seniors proposed the space be used as a study room, which “degenerated into a flophouse for seniors.”

The senior class personalized the space to be decoratively painted, filled with couches, and, best of all: exclusively for seniors. “Being a middle schooler looking through the windows and seeing the seniors jamming out to music, it was like we were finally seeing the independence we would be able to obtain as new adults. It was like a right of passage and one of the many traditions that our school lost coming out of COVID,” said senior Diya Nookala. 

As the school underwent numerous changes, so did the Fishbowl. For the last two years of the pandemic, the room was used as storage because of its small size and bad circulation. Two years of seniors went without this privilege, and, with the change in administration, others are fearing the tradition will be lost forever. New principal Kim Murphy assuaged these fears by saying, “We’re going to continue with what has been written in the handbook,” which includes freedom for seniors.

While the administration made the call for the Fishbowl’s transformation, its future is in the hands of the new seniors. “They have been at the helm, and I have been guiding, steering, and supporting them,” said Murphy. At the forefront of this helm is senior class president, Cecilia Juliano. Leading the search for a new Fishbowl, senior class officers considered the weight room and walled-in area beside IT before settling on the atrium as its new location. “This space is really cool because even though it’s our space, we’re able to be within everywhere else in the school, and it’s not super closed off,” said Juliano, “It’s our corner of a larger thing.” 

The new Fishbowl would also spread a message of inclusion. Only a limited number of students could fit in the old alcove, and Juliano predicts that the new space could hold double or even triple the previous amount of people. “I think it represents us as a grade,” said Juliano. “We’re inclusive, we really have a lot of love for each other, and I think the fact that we’re able to hang out all together a little bit more is really nice.”

The area’s openness is a double-edged sword, as students express displeasure at the new Fishbowl’s lack of privacy. The space will be reserved for seniors during the school day, but available to others outside school hours. This rule would be difficult to enforce. Junior Sanjana Shukla said, “I was looking forward to the socialization that occurs in the Fishbowl, and if they move it to the atrium there’ll be no privacy.” Shukla also noted people would play music in the old Fishbowl, which wouldn’t happen in the larger space.

In their corner, the senior officers have begun plans to paint the bare walls and fill the atrium with couches. So far, the officers have appointed artists and ordered furniture using money granted from the Shaw fund. Juliano expects the furniture to arrive in 6-8 weeks, though the entire renovation could take longer.  

Juliano says that the final result will always be different from the old one. “We have the opportunity to create something new,” she said. “This whole process is going to be a lot of trial and error, but who’s to say we can’t keep changing and evolving throughout the year as we keep discovering what we want the space to be?”